Audit of Weld County commissioners, clerk and recorder delayed at least a month
June 19, 2017
The County Council meets next at 6:30 p.m. July 17 at the Weld County Administration Building, 1150 O St. The council is expected to discuss the process by which the results of an independent audit of the Weld County Commissioners and the Clerk and Recorder’s Office will be released.
Citing a greater number of respondents than anticipated, Weld County Council Vice President Mike Grillos on Monday said a performance audit of the Board of Weld County Commissioners and the Weld County Clerk and Recorder's Office would last at least another month.
Grillos provided the update during the council's regular meeting Monday, saying he learned of the delay a little more than a week ago.
The Weld County Council hired a San Francisco-based consulting firm to conduct an audit of the commissioners and clerk's office at a cost of about $50,000.
The firm was selected in February and was expected to complete the audit by June 30. That date has been pushed to the end of July or the first part of August, Grillos said. The development also pushes back the public release of the audit, originally planned for the council's July 17 meeting.
“Taking longer tells me more people are speaking up, and that’s a good thing.
— Elisa Kunkel, former clerk and recorder’s office employee
Now, unless the council calls a special meeting for the sole purpose of releasing results, the public will have to wait until Aug. 21 to see the results.
The audit will focus on complaints from employees, residents and car dealerships about wait times and office climate at the clerk's office and will look into accusations of unnecessary spending on conferences and travel, as well as treatment of county employees by Weld commissioners.
Former clerk and recorder's office employee Elisa Kunkel said she was thrilled with the news. Kunkel, who has been vocal about her opinions of Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes' management style, asked the council for an audit June 20, 2016, and she said she's more than willing to wait a little longer for results.
"Taking longer tells me more people are speaking up, and that's a good thing," Kunkel said.
Indeed, Grillos said a large number of respondents forced the auditing firm to push back its work. Likewise, Grillos had no problem with the delay.
"I told them I would rather have thorough and complete than quick," Grillos said.
It's unclear whether the delay will have any budget impact, though Grillos said he hadn't received any indication that would be the case.
The council also took action on its budget, recommending a reduced budget with a twist, all without providing notice of such an action item or discussion.
The council will ask commissioners for $25,000 next year, compared with the $50,000 council has spent this year. It also will ask for an additional $5,000 to be earmarked for legal expenses.
Council members went rounds during previous council meetings about county attorney Bruce Barker's inability to provide legal advice to the council because Barker also advises Weld County commissioners.
Council members have cited Barker's interpretation of various county codes, among other things, as reasons for the perceived conflict of interest.
Barker on Monday said earmarking the money was prudent, and all county council members voted to approve the budget recommendation.
But the discussion and action item weren't on the council's Monday agenda, a point Council President Brett Abernathy said amounted to a simple oversight.
"The reality is there are things that come along, and I had not contacted (the board secretary)," Abernathy said. "We do our best to alert people."
— Tyler Silvy covers government and politics for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at email@example.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.